IF I SEEK US
Modern Myth Articles
The Saturn Theory Overview
In the course of these submissions, I'll attempt to respond to various comments by others, while trying to keep a sense of direction.
In response to my previous notes, noted author Vine Deloria wrote:
"OK - then all we need is to establish the various sequences of interaction with earth and try to get some dates down - even approximations - and some idea of the disruption of our strata here plus whatever was "dumped" from the other planets and we have something to work with.
"We can now ...ask the question - how did human society and/or civilizations get off the ground..., etc."
Chronology. Physical Evidence. Dynamics. All of these issues intertwine. Moreover, various individuals exploring catastrophist ideas will work from different perspectives, and will hold different ideas as to what constitutes the most solid ground for a starting point.
The solid ground, in my own thinking, is the substratum of human memory. It is this substratum that raises the deepest historical questions and sends us scurrying about to find answers, even if the answers upset various specialists, asking them to reconsider the most fundamental assumptions of their discipline. My own conclusion came as a great surprise: the substratum of human memory is incredibly dependable. But others would consider that to be a losing proposition out of the gate. So there's an immediate problem of communication here.
[A definition just to avoid misunderstanding: By the "substratum of human memory" I don't mean Jungian collective memory, though Jungian psychology may indeed come into the equation in the bigger picture. For now, I mean the common mythical, symbolic and ritual themes of widely separate cultures. Another way of putting it might be, "Points of agreement concerning remembered events."]
In this inquiry, I think there are certain things we can all agree on. Truth is unifying, because it eliminates contradictions. When you are looking for the truth of a matter, any significant and incontrovertible fact is good news, because it can save you from heading in the wrong direction. It's particularly good news if it compels you to change your mind, because in doing so it has liberated you from a burden that could only grow. When it comes to the more fundamental errors, a whole life time could be spent on a dead-end course.
Physical data and physical theory will be involved—and implicated—at every step. Whatever happened is not impossible. What is impossible didn't happen. There will be no unified theory in the sense we are all looking for, until what was remembered can be comprehended. Not just comprehended as a set of anciently-supported images, but comprehended in terms of what is possible, and in terms of the physical signature of the events involved.
But before I wander off, let's return to THE ONE STORY TOLD AROUND THE WORLD. Since we are claiming this to be one memory reflected in the myth-making adventure as a whole, I had better republish the story. (Already my second printing. It's not long, you will recall):
Once the world was quite a different place. In the beginning, we were ruled by the central luminary of the sky, the motionless sun, presiding over an age of natural abundance and cosmic harmony. "Creator"-king, father of kings, founder of the kingship rites. And this earliest remembered time was the "exemplary" epoch, the Golden Age, the standard for all later generations.
But the ancient order was disrupted and the entire cosmos fell into confusion, when the Universal Monarch tumbled from his appointed station. Then the hordes of chaos were set loose and all of creation slipped into a cosmic night, the gods themselves battling furiously in the heavens.
And yet, from this descent into chaos, a new world emerged, now re-configured, but with the Universal Monarch himself, rejuvenated and transformed, assuming his rightful place in the heavens.
What an outrageous claim to make—to suggest that there are no domains of ancient myth that can be isolated from this singular story! But I am not just arguing by proclamation here. I am contending that the truth can be demonstrated by following certain rules. Call these the RULES FOR RE-ENVISIONING HUMAN HISTORY. Our first rule is: we will always work from the general motif to the specific. A second is: only broadly recurring themes count as evidence, particularly in the early stages of the reconstruction. And there is a third rule: Earlier-recorded versions of the recurring themes must be permitted to explain later variants.
Okay, just one more rule: we must allow ancient drawings to illuminate the myths and rites, while permitting the myths and rites to illuminate the drawings. This last rule is crucial because, around the world, ancient skygazers drew remarkably similar pictures of things that do not exist in our sky. And the things depicted are the "subjects" of the myths and rites, though this vital truth has not been generally recognized, either by catastrophists or by mainstream scholars.
Now let's take the ONE STORY a step further, in response to Vine's question: how many archetypal figures of myth are there? There are SEVEN, I say with smug assurance.
Well there "are" just seven! But it all depends how you count these folks.
For openers, we know there is at least one archetypal figure, because he is the god whose ancient name was "ONE", the primeval, all-encompassing "Unity". This figure is, of course, the Universal Monarch, the subject of our ONE STORY (So our ONE STORY might be subtitled the "The Story of ONE'"). Examples would include: Egyptian Atum and Ra, Sumerian An and Utu, Akkadian Anu and Shamash, Hindu Varuna and Brahma, Greek Ouranos and Kronos, Aztec Ometeotl and Quetzalcoatl, to name a few.
Our claim is that all others stories, all other archetypal figures, when investigated at the core, lead back to the ONE STORY, intersecting with this story in the most remarkable and explicit ways.
Here are the other figures:
QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Wherever you find the Universal Monarch you will find close at hand the ancient mother goddess—the goddess whom the Sumerians called Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, and the Babylonians Ishtar, and the Egyptians Isis, Hathor, and Sekhmet, each with numerous counterparts in their own and in other lands, and virtually all of them viewed symbolically as daughter or spouse of the creator-king, and the mother of another, equally prominent figure—
This is the great national hero, originally the Demiurge, the servant of the creator-king, but passing into later myth as the laboring warrior, messenger or servant of a great chief or regional ruler. He is the Hercules archetype, a figure combining knowledge and brutish strength, quick wit and episodic foolishness. He defeats the chaos monsters in primordial times, and he re-configures the world. With a personality clearly dominating the later mythical chronicles, the warrior-hero is the prototype of the famous tricksters and buffoons of later myth and folklore, flowering into thousands of tribal variations. Egyptian Shu, Horus and Sept, Akkadian Nergal, Hindu Indra, Norse Thor, Greek Ares and Hercules, Aztec Huitzilopochtli. Also, in North America: Coyote and Raven. But countless others as well, because the warrior-hero is far and away the most active figure in the myths.
These satellite figures are presented in a variety of contexts, as wise men, patriarchs, seers, children, dwarves, stones of fate, stars, orbs, heads of the chaos monster. They are the first reason for the sanctity of the number seven in ancient symbolism.
Here we meet the darker, more menacing powers, possessing an often-hidden link to aspects of the mother goddess or warrior-hero type. Of these darker creatures none is more prominent than the cosmic serpent or dragon, a monster that descends on the world to preside over the twilight of the gods, and whose ultimate defeat signals the birth of a new age or, symbolically, a new year. Babylonian Tiamat. Egyptian dragon of Apep. Greek Typhon. But within every culture, endless variations will be found: hundreds of monsters repeating the primeval catastrophe, each providing a different nuance, a different accent, a different way of remembering the cosmic agent of Doomsday.
These are the companions of the monster figures. They are the swarming powers of disorder and calamity, the fiends of darkness—flaming, devouring demons which so many magical rites were contrived to ward off. >From the Norse Valkyries to the Greek Erinyes, from the Babylonian Pazuzu-demons to the Egyptian "Fiends of Set." Every culture remembered the onslaught of these chaos demons, moving across the heavens as a sky-darkening cloud and ushering in the cosmic night. In their earliest expressions, they do not just announce the primeval catastrophe, they "are" the catastrophe.
And lastly, there is the compelling personality of the dying god-king, often a resurrected or transformed figure, whose springing back to life is reflected in the dramas of the New Year, symbolically the passing from one age to another. Though his identity is inseparably tied to the Universal Monarch, he nevertheless emerges in distinction from that god as his "son"—the younger version, or "rejuvenated" form of his own father. Examples would include: Egyptian Osiris, Akkadian Marduk; Persian Ahura Mazda; Norse Balder; Hebrew Yahweh; Phoenician Bel, Greek Zeus.
So there are just seven archetypal personalities of myth, if you count them in this way. We are not separating the chaos monster into it's male and female aspects, so we count only one monster. We "are" separating the Universal Monarch into his elder and younger versions, however.
We arrive, therefore, at our first critical juncture. An acid test. Can a mere seven categories actually encompass all of world mythology? While there are numerous complexities and ambiguities to slow us down periodically, the vast majority of well-documented regional figures of myth can be readily identified in terms of these archetypes. And the implications are quite astounding if you set this principle beside the different theories offered to explain myth in the past. NOT A SINGLE THEORY PROPOSED BEFORE VELIKOVSKY OPENED THE DOOR WILL ACCOUNT FOR THE ARCHETYPES, THE BEDROCK OF MYTH.
But the implications become all the more astounding when you begin to see that each of the archetypal figures is linked in no uncertain terms to the ONE STORY. (I'll give some key examples in the next few submissions.) A "universal structure" to ancient memory is present. The six additional biographies re-tell the "story of ONE", but each with a slight turn of the prism, putting the focus on a particular aspect of the story and providing more colorful action and detail. What an amazing principle, if true.
Of all the skills that the independent researcher might bring to this inquiry, none will prove more crucial than that of pattern recognition. There is structure to myth. Structure that has never been sufficiently acknowledged. Structure implies coherence, an integrity between the parts. Clearly human imagination must have gone wild to have produced the incredible vistas of the ancient mythscape. But structure is there too, and structure means that human imagination was not operating in a vacuum. What could have unleashed human imagination in this way, while yet inspiring a universal myth? Nothing less than the most awesome and traumatic experiences in human history, I would say.